British Olympic diver Tom Daley has admitted he’s fallen out of love with Harry Potter as he struggles to reconcile JK Rowling’s views on transgender people.
Until recently Daley was a huge Potter fan, enjoying a private tour of Warner Brother’s Harry Potter World in London when he and his husband were newlyweds.
Daley even chose Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone as his favourite book on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs in 2018.
But he’s now had a serious change of heart in light of the author’s controversial comments about trans rights.
“I did love JK Rowling’s books,” he told The Times. “But it does always leave a little bit of a…” Here he seemed about to say “bad taste”, according to the paper.
Daley, 26, acknowledged Rowling’s support after evangelical Christians on Twitter claimed he’d dived badly in the 2016 Olympics because he was gay.
“So, the thing is, she stuck up for me in the past,” he said, adding that he was grateful for it at the time.
“But then what she said about trans people… It’s one of the hardest things to understand, how trans people think and feel, because she has never lived that experience, the same way white people trying to understand the Black experience will never be able to understand that.”
He said he would now change his Desert Island Disc book choice and pick A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle, a “spiritual manifesto” about living life without anger, jealousy, and unhappiness.
Asked what he would say to Rowling in person, he said: “It’s hard because I’m not someone who likes conflict, but I have strong views and beliefs.
“I guess it would be a conversation rather than a shouting match. I always try to listen first and try to understand, and then try to share my point of view and my opinions and show how things [said] can hurt other people, to try to get the best outcome.”
Tom Daley’s husband, Dustin Lance Black, used stronger terms to describe the author after the release of her latest book – a novel about a cis male serial killer who dresses as a woman to murder his victims.
“JK’s work has always been jammed full of ‘borrowed’ old tropes. It was just that she ‘borrowed’ tales many enjoyed revisiting,” he wrote in a now-deleted tweet.
“Her new well: long disproven, discriminatory old tropes and lies sown by bigots. She’s a pretender. A thief. A fraud. And likely always has been.”